Engine Kid "Heater Sweats Nails" / "Husk" 7"

There are a number of ways to approach Engine Kid, depending where your interests lay. I first discovered them as one of the first non-hardcore bands on the legendary NYHC label Revelation Records, where they remained an oddball curiosity until my tastes branched out a bit. By the mid/late-90s they fit perfectly with my interest in Slint, Rodan and other Louisville, KY bands affiliated with the Touch & Go / Drag City / Quarterstick family.

Engine Kid were from Seattle however, and had a few releases on C/Z Records, home of Hammerbox, Icky Joey, Coffin Break and other alt/grunge bands relegated to the dollar bin by the cruel passage of time. While EK didn't really have much in common with those bands, they did have a number of releases on C/Z at a time when anything connected with Seattle was painted with the same brush.

Nowadays however, they're most relevant as the band Greg Anderson was in before Burning Witch, Goatsnake and SUNN O))). There are a few moments where Engine Kid hinted at the territory Anderson would explore with his later work. One of those was the band's final release and crowning achievement, the Heater Sweats Nails / Husk single, released by Troubleman Unlimited in 1995. While the b-side sounds like a lost lullaby from Slint's Spiderland, the a-side covers the other end of EK's spectrum: sludge. The classic mid-90s indie label budget mastering takes a bit of the oomph out of the song, but "Heater.." still packs a pretty good punch for a Slint-enamored band trying to sound like the Melvins. I always thought that "Husk" complemented it well, yin-yang style. See for yourself..

Engine Kid "Heater Sweats Nails" (from Heater Sweats Nails / Husk 7", 1995)

Engine Kid "Husk" (from Heater Sweats Nails / Husk 7", 1995)

Heavenly Pop Hits – Flying Nun Records

Heavenly Pop Hits – Flying Nun Records

pt. 1

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pt. 3

pt. 4

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pt. 6

pt. 7

pt. 8

pt. 9

Song Of The Day 004

Back again.. hopefully things will continue like this.

My girlfriend listened to a lot of The Clean back when we started dating and for the most part, they didn't really do much for me. The exception to this was one song on their 1982 EP Boodle Boodle Boodle: "Point That Thing Somewhere Else". I'm a sucker for the Apache / Motorik beat wherever it pops up and "Point That Thing.." borrowed it to great effect. Sounding like a cross between straight ahead 4/4 Krautrock and Yo La Tengo's more propulsive moments (though YLT and their own adaptation of that sound obviously came later on) it was right up my alley at the time. Much later now, noticing a nice vinyl reissue of The Clean Compilation (which gathered most of their early work) floating around, I've revisited the early EPs. At this point I'm down with most of their material, but "Point That Thing.." still stands out, offering their best example of Velvet Underground-style repetition and escape from traditional song structure. 1982 seems a bit wrong for a song like this - the era of post-punk, full-blown hardcore, early Industrial, etc., but as with a lot of the best music, the wrong time was totally the right time.

The Clean "Point That Thing Somewhere Else" (originally from Boodle Boodle Boodle, 1982; reissued on Clean Compilation, 1986)

Nodzzz 12"

Hey folks. Sorry about the massive gap in posting.. I've been busy with a lot of real world stuff lately. Ironically I've been spending a lot more time than usual listening to music and getting stoked on it during the break - I just haven't had time to post about it. I'm hoping to change that though.

I spent a lot of time listening to the demo from San Francisco's Nodzzz over the summer and was amped to find out they have a 12" out next week. The label, What's Your Rupture?, tossed the first song up last month and it sounds pretty killer, expanding on the sound of the demo but still keeping things simple and effective. Also killer is their West Coast tour with Love Is All and Vivian Girls later this month (Vancouver date is Nov. 24 @ Richard's). Interested parties can pre-order the 12" here or pick it up at one of the shows.

Nodzzz "Is She There" (from s/t Lp, 2008)

Juan Maclean for president!

Hi everybody. Long time, no see. Sorry about that..

I've got a backlog of rad stuff to post, but first things first, Juan Maclean hit Vancouver Tuesday night and absolutely killed it. I've seen dude rock a few solo sets and he was solid, mostly spinning early 90s house and techno classics, but it always left me wondering how amazing a full-band live performance would be. Last night I found out – it was killer.

The crowd was fairly sparse but very receptive, so the vibe was a good one. Aside from some juggling and adjusting of parts, it was cool to hear how close the live versions of the songs sounded to the recorded ones. Juan's band's drums/synth/theremin/pseudo-303 configuration faithfully recreated the sounds of all the songs.. not really a surprise since after a while it dawned on me that they functioned as a live band from the beginning and weren't just adapting their songs to a band situation.

After running through earlier singles "You Can't Have It Both Ways" and "Give Me Every Little Thing", a couple from Less Than Human, and a few new ones, I knew the final song would be a loooooong one when they announced 30-some minutes into the set that it was their last. As my Facebook status (ha!) alludes to, they ended with a massive 20 minute version of Happy House, with multiple breaks and extended acid action. Every time I thought they were done they brought it back again and the twists, turns and breaks kept things hype right until the end.

For me, 'live band' performances of hip-hop and dance music usually sacrifice the funkiness of the dance element and the energy of the band element and you get the worst of both worlds: a lethargic, incoherent mess that sounds like stiff studio musicians jamming on songs you thought you knew; snooze-ville. Not so here – everything hit just right and perfectly captured the essence of the songs, making it seem so easy and obvious. Hopefully they'll utilize the band more often for touring because it's a completely different and unique show.

ESPO, Spongebob and Guantánamo

ESPO's new Coney Island Sideshow in the NYT.

In interrupting a day at the beach with scenes of the United States government’s rougher practices, Mr. Powers is being deliberately provocative. “What’s more obscene,” he asks, “the official position that waterboarding is not torture, or our official position that it’s a thrill ride?”

new Bottomless Pit!

I love pre-orders, especially when they're so far in advance that you forget all about them until one day a package appears in your mailbox, like a gift from the past. Today the new Bottomless Pit 12" showed up under my door, something that had only crossed my mind a few times since I ordered it months ago. Last year's Hammer Of The Gods Lp stayed on my turntable through winter and well into spring, and I've already flipped the four song Congress 12" a good dozen times today, A/B/A/B, repeat. It's a perfect extension of Hammer Of The Gods, musically, thematically, like a lost fourth side. Their songs draw you in and closer examination is rewarded as the songs and stories unfold.

Bottomless Pit "Red Pen" (from The Congress EP, 2008)

Vancouver, summer 2008 = 2 killer

Too much ill shit going on here lately. I just learned that Sorcerers & Bison are playing the Biltmore next Friday (the 15th) and Ladyhawk & My!Gay!Husband! are at the Sweatshop the next day (Saturday the 16th). All this in addition to the Mutators 12" release show at the ER this Friday (the 8th) with Shearing Pinx, Brooklyn's Zs & V.Vecker, and the Chromatics / Twin Crystals show (now) at the Biltmore Saturday (the 9th). Fuck yeah.

Song Of The Day 003

Lately I've been feeling a lot of trashy, primitive, blown out, lo-fi stuff on one hand, and a lot of Krautrock (still.. always..) on the other. San Francisco psych-rockers Wooden Shjips are a natural fit, bringing the fuzz along with zoned out repetition and minimal grooves.

This track is from their recent Volume 1 collection on Holy Mountain, originally from a 2006 10" EP (right now I prefer the older material to last year's self-titled album). A lot of their songs hover around 4-5 minutes in length, maybe due to the restraints of releasing 7" EPs, but this one sees them stretching out a bit and it works beautifully. It's one of many songs I had to axe from my already bloated muxtape..

Wooden Shjips "Shrinking Moon For You" (from Volume 1, 2008)

muxtape / Defender / Principle Theory / Scottie B

Just cause I can, I made a muxtape. It's a two-parter actually – you can check it here and here. It's pretty evenly split between all-time favorites and new stuff I'm loving. I think it bangs if I do say so myself, which I can because it's not like I wrote the songs or anything.

So.. because I've totally been slacking on posting new stuff so far this summer, here's a doubleshot of rips for you:

Defender was a one-off project by Alan Braxe, Fred Falke and Savage. The title track here doesn't really do much for me (call me a purist but I never really felt the guitars), so the b-side wins again – "Bliss" is a Braxe / Falke classic.

Defender "Defender" (from Defender / Bliss EP, 2005)

Defender "Bliss" (from Defender / Bliss EP, 2005)

Principle Theory was a name used occasionally by Byron Walton, aka Chicago House legend Jamie Principle. It's a bit of a tough call, but I think I have to go with the b-side here too. Both tracks are ill but "Voyeur" just hits a little harder.

Principle Theory "Bitch" (Vocal Mix feat. Coco Cocktail) (from Bitch 12", 1992)

Principle Theory "Bitch" (instrumental) (from Bitch 12", 1992)

Principle Theory "Voyeur" (from Bitch 12", 1992)

Scottie B has been getting around the internets lately and most recently he's popped up on KarmaloopTV, giving a tour of Baltimore, including some quick shots of the Unruly HQ. Check it out below:

Sneeze Mag No. 1

Not terribly timely at this point, but if you're in Vancouver or NYC, the inaugural June / July issue of Sneeze Magazine is available for two bucks. The content is a mix of skate/street stuff and randomness wrapped up in a cool 22 x 16, full color format that works really well. The full-screen vibe of their front page gives you a feel for what the mag is like: large and in your face.

Copies can be ordered through their website but the primary distribution method is via the old style newspaper boxes at Lafayette & Prince (NY) and Water & Abbott (Gastown). Very cool idea. It's definitely worth your toonie, and hopefully an August / September issue will be out soon.

And if you are in Vancouver, the No Age / Abe Vigoda / Mika Miko tour hits Richard's tonight. I've been looking forward to this since No Age played one of the best shows I've ever seen, period, at Pat's Pub last summer. It should be a killer night.

Mika Miko "Frisco Dyke" (from PPM EP, 2004)

Abe Vigoda "Animal Ghosts" (from Skeleton LP, 2008)

No Age "Sleeper Hold" (from Nouns LP, 2008)

Paul Westerberg – 49:00

Holy crap, out of nowhere Paul Westerberg released a new 'album', 49:00, a couple days ago. This one is download only.. but, never being one to fully embrace modern ways, he made things a little difficult: the album is one long 44 minute track comprised of a couple dozen songs. If this sounds like a drag, the price sure is right: $0.49 for the whole thing. After a couple listens, I'm really liking it. It's got some definite gems, and beats the hell out of the Open Season soundtrack. It's very much in line with the vibe of his post-major label releases: raw, ragged, and off-the-cuff. There's just a whole lot more fucking/joking around this time, with snippets of Born To Be Wild, the Partridge Family, and some brief musical sketches mixed in with the actual songs. At one point there are different songs in each channel. Anyway, it's great to see him back at work.

The easiest place to grab it would be here (Google Checkout/Paypal), though Amazon US has it too.


Sad news from Baltimore and the Unruly family – the Baltimore Sun and other outlets are reporting that 92Q DJ K-Swift passed away late Sunday night after an accident at her home. Back when Baltimore Club first spread outside the east coast, the mixes she sold through her website were one of the few ways to hear it. I never saw her spin or heard her on 92Q so I can't speak on the impact she had in Baltimore, but her mix cds did a lot to bring Club music to the people who were looking for it at a crucial point in its growth. Much respect.

Lizzy Mercier Descloux – Fire

Another cheapo 45 find, this time from a Value Village. Covers on both sides: Arthur Brown's "Fire" and the Mission Impossible theme. When I found it, I didn't know that Philips Canada had licensed her Press Color album from ZE, so I almost skipped over it when I saw the label (seriously, what else was Philips releasing around that time? Zamfir? Santa Esmeralda?) I would have preferred the 12" version, with the full edit of Fire, but this is still a nice one. Sadly, LMD's work still seems fairly slept on in light of how James Chance, ESG, Liquid Liquid and related NYC artists have been embraced and championed in the last 5-10 years.

Lizzy Mercier Descloux "Fire" (from Press Color, 1979)

Lizzy Mercier Descloux "Mission Impossible" (from Press Color, 1979)

On a completely different tip, journalist Jane Mayer fields six questions from lawyer/writer Scott Horton today on the subject of the Bush administration's torture program. Though she's been writing since the 80s, Mayer came to my attention after her in depth articles about the Bush administration, torture, SERE, and the Fox show 24 for The New Yorker, doing a lot to expose the extent of the program.

Cornell Campbell – Natty Dread In Greenwich Farm

After months of questionable weather it feels like Vancouver's summer might be here to stay for a while – great time for some roots. I found this single in the basement of Into The Music many years ago when they were in the Village. Not sure why it was relegated to the $0.25 bin but I wasn't going to complain, especially since it's one of the only reggae 45s I ever spotted there. 1975, produced by Bunny Lee, and backed with a killer dub – I don't know about your day but it suits mine perfectly. Enjoy.

Cornell Campbell – Natty Dread In Greenwich Farm (vocal)

Cornell Campbell – Natty Dread In Greenwich Farm (version)

SINDEN mix for We Make It Good

New-ish Sinden mix, courtesy of We Make It Good / Shilo / Death Of The Party.

Loads of new rips coming in the next while (something I've been slacking on), so keep checking back.

Who lives in the Downtown Eastside?

A new 102 page report (from the city)

..along with some commentary

It only includes those in social housing and SROs, but it's a very interesting look at that slice of the DTES population.

Pretty much..

Ahh Rogers.. you came close, but now you've got people rioting in the fucking streets..

For added amusement, count to 60 and see how many signatures are added right before your eyes.

Song Of The Day 002

Big Country "Wonderland" (from the Wonderland EP, 1984)

On the strength of The Crossing and the Wonderland EP alone, Big Country are one of my favorite bands ever. No foolin. While rock history may paint them as a one-hit wonder pop act with pseudo-bagpipe guitars, dudes created some of the most incredible anthems of our time. Lumping them in with the transient, novelty- and image-driven groups that plagued the 80s is most unfair. Here's a bonus instrumental demo version, along with the video..

..and, yeah, sure, why not?

In other news, a fifth and a sixth human foot washed up along BC's coast.. oops sorry, forget that sixth one, Barack Obama enlisted a war criminal to advise on foreign policy, Blackwater requested to be tried under Sharia law, and there's a psychedelic berry that makes everything taste really wonderful (complete with accompanying industry conspiracy). What a week.

Music Waste

I can't believe it's Wednesday already. It seems a bit late to post about the past weekend's Music Waste, but I didn't want to let it pass without comment. Poor planning and some unrelated running around meant that I missed about 9/10th of the bands, but I enjoyed what I saw. Highlights and surprises include i/i, White Lung, and Ice Cream, but what really floored me was Sorcerers. I was curious after hearing their hardcore meets reggae meets skaterock blasts via myspace, but live, they went way beyond my expectations. Dudes came ferocious and tight, but the unexpected dub effects that the drummer and guitarist dropped on the fly put them into another realm. It was all too perfect and I'm still kind of in disbelief, anxious to see them again.

In general though, it was super cool to see 60 or so bands from the city's underground come together to play well-attended shows with good vibes all around. I'm already looking forward to next year.

Here's a small handful of pics..

Japandroids at The Astoria

i/i at The Astoria

Sorcerers at Pub 340

White Lung at Pub 340

Scottie B & Shawn Caesar interview

Another interview with Baltimore Club/Unruly pioneers Shawn Caesar and Scottie B, aka Chavy Boys Of London. This one's up at Earplug. Peep it here.

On the same tip, check these while you're at it:

"Nuh, Apple Jacks.."


Hydra Head reissued the sole VSS album, Nervous Circuits, last week and a magazine I contribute photos to tapped me for some shots of them to coincide. My first reaction was a cynical 'people still care enough about this band to gamble with reissuing them?' since they broke up over a decade ago and realistically, probably only sold a fraction of what the average HH release does now (not a dis at all). My second reaction was 'wow, was that really over a decade ago?'

When they first appeared in the mid-90s, The VSS were notable for containing members of Angel Hair (though they may now be better known for becoming the Sub-Pop band Pleasure Forever), a band I was a bit too young and not quite cool enough to catch when they played at a local punk house a few years prior. Everyone I've ever talked to about it spoke of that show as a legendary event, and I never really got over missing it. Now, more than ten years later, I have great memories of that whole time, but Angel Hair, The VSS, and all the other Gravity Records-related or influenced bands of the 90s.. hell, 1990s 'post-hardcore' in general, are the furthest thing from my mind.

Digging up the negs and getting them printed led me to dig up my VSS EPs (I always thought the early EPs were far superior to the album) as well and re-evaluate them. Little things like the synth touches and the delay on the vocals (and if you saw them live, the DIY lightshow that Sonny controlled) made the VSS stand out against the sea of generic post-hardcore bands of the 90s. The passage of time has only made this much more apparent. What's surprising though is how the songs sound in the late 00s. Comparing post-hardcore bands to 80s post-punk bands like Joy Division, Bauhaus, or Wire was a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy that was very popular back then, but you can definitely hear echoes of that time in the VSS, and despite this, it all stills sounds fresh to my ears today. I can't say that too much else of that era has aged very well. I expected to listen to the songs once and file them away for another few years or more but I've found myself spinning them repeatedly in the last week.

The show? If you can believe it, some friends and I trekked to Fargo, North Dakota for it. It was one of those where other than the promoter, his girlfriend, and the other bands, we were the only people there for the show. This (and many other things) made for a weird vibe, but the VSS and their light show threw down a killer set. They only played one or two EP tracks, the rest being new songs. This was late spring 1997, right around the release of Nervous Circuits. They broke up weeks later.

Anyway, here are a few tracks from the second EP, and an Echo & The Bunnymen cover from the posthumous split EP with Rye Coalition.

I Cut My Teeth (from Gravity 25 EP, 1996)

Cosmic Retribution (from Gravity 25 EP, 1996)

No Hands (from split 2X7" EP with Rye Coalition, 1998)

May 28

Apologies for the lack of updates. I've been doing my best to stay away from computers now that summer is kinda, sorta, maybe here. On that tip, here are a handful of summer-ish joints I've picked up or been sent lately.

Lykke Li "I'm Good, I'm Gone" (Fred Falke remix)

Yeah, I've been living in a cave, ignoring all the Lykke Li hype. I'm still not sure what to think now that I've actually heard her voice, but FF turns in a nice remix capturing the classic retro French vibe. Too bad he and Alan Braxe won't be working together anymore, but it's good to see him dropping his own tracks more frequently.

Chromeo "Needy Girl" (Lifelike remix)

Speaking of Braxe, I'm so amped to see him and Lifelike at Fast Life in a couple weeks. Like Daft tour 2007 amped. Yup.

Emynd "Rock This Park"

When I saw the title I knew this would be a rework of the Blackbyrds classic. Emynd's got that Philly club sound on lock, and this one is tasteful and solid the way his work always is. Brought to you by Unruly.. not sure if this will be seeing vinyl release.

No Age "Sleeper Hold" (from Nouns, 2008)

After the killer show they played at Pat's Pub last year I've been patiently waiting for the return of No Age. It's finally happening in July and the fact that they're bringing Mika Miko and Abe Vigoda with them has me extra excited. Three of LA's finest in Vancouver.. too much.

King Tutt "Release" video

Kinda surreal DJ King Tutt video featuring nothing but dudes jumping onto/off of shit. A bit of a head-scratcher but King Tutt's electro-tinged version of the Baltimore sound is so hot I can't front.

via Unruly.

Mats / Peter Jesperson

I'm in the middle of another major Replacements binge at the moment, brought on by Jim Walsh's All Over But The Shouting and anticipation for Rhino's reissues of the four Twin/Tone albums.. as if I ever needed an excuse. I read the first half of All Over.. in two sittings and could easily finish it in a third. It started out a tad gushy but quickly got down to business: fascinating stories, anecdotes and musings for the obsessive fan, all provided by friends, cohorts, fans and the band members themselves. On that tip, Teenage Kicks recently did a lengthy interview with Peter Jesperson of Twin/Tone, who is, of course, all over the book. Check it out here, here, and here. And if you still haven't gotten your fix, Spin has a five or six page feature on the Mats in the current issue.

Current favorite previously overlooked Mats joint:

Replacements "Shutup" (from Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash, 1981)

Song Of The Day 001

Right now:

U.S. Maple "Dumb In The Wings" (from Purple On Time, 2003)

After eight years of meandering, stalling and getting lost in so-called "deconstruction", Chicago's U.S. Maple finally allowed themselves to rock out a wee bit. Who knew they had it in them? It's like listening to a completely different band but I love it just the same.

Incidently, there's a documentary in the works.

Annette's Got The Hits

Before the International Red Cross made them change their name, and long before they were a crappy rock band getting played on Citylimits (or 120 Minutes I guess), Red Cross (bka Redd Kross) were a pretty killer LA punk band with members of Black Flag and Bad Religion. It's kind of funny that this song mocks cover bands ("we're a cover band/we like boring songs/.../we listen to Kiss..") and then four years later their second album was all covers, including a Kiss song, but whatever, this rips.

Red Cross "Cover Band" (from s/t 12", aka Annette's Got The Hits, 1979)

Thank You Friends

Big Beat (this one, not this one) has issued a double-disc set celebrating the mid 60s – early 70s era of the legendary Memphis label Ardent. The compilation features a host of Big Star-related bands and more than a dozen BS rarities, ranging from near identical outtakes to previously unreleased songs. This is what drew me in, but hearing the lesser known Ardent bands is a big treat as well, and shows that Big Star weren't the only Memphis artists operating at the nexus point of rock, pop, glam and more traditional sounds.

Disc One:
01 The Ole Miss Downbeats – Geraldine
02 Lawson & Four More – If You Want Me You Can Find Me
03 The Avengers – Batarang
04 The Wallabies – White Door
05 Lawson & Four More – Halfway Down The Stairs
06 The Bitter Ind – Hands Are Only To See
07 The 1st Century – The Surveyor
08 Terry Manning – Rocks
09 The Wallabies – Up And Down Children
10 Terry Manning – Not At All
11 The 1st Century – Looking Down
12 The Honey Jug – In 1852 We
13 The Goatdancers – Patches Of Dust
14 Chris Bell – Psychedelic Stuff
15 Alex Chilton – Free Again
16 Icewater – All I See Is You
17 The Badgers – Every Shoemaker
18 Sid Selvidge – Miss Eleana
19 Rock City – Lovely Lady
20 Alex Chilton – Every Day As We Grow Closer
21 Terry Manning – Guess Things Happen That Way
22 Icewater – Feeling High
23 Alex Chilton – The Emi Song (Smile For Me)
24 Rock City – Think It's Time To Say Goodbye

Disc Two:
01 Big Star – In The Street
02 Cargoe – Feel Alright
03 Big Star – When My Baby’s Beside Me
04 Big Star – My Life Is Right
05 Big Star – Back Of A Car
06 Cargoe – I Love You Anyway
07 Big Star – I Got Kinda Lost
08 The Hot Dogs – Let Me Look At The Sun
09 Big Star – Mod Lang
10 Big Star – She’s A Mover
11 The Hot Dogs – I Walk The Line
12 Big Star – September Gurls
13 Big Star – Big Black Car
14 Alex Chilton – Lovely Day (aka Stroke It Noel)
15 Big Star – For You
16 Alex Chilton – Downs
17 Big Star – Kizza Me
18 Big Star – Holocaust
19 Chris Bell – You And Your Sister
20 Tommy Hoehn – Love You (All Day Long)
21 Big Star – Thank You Friends
22 Tommy Hoehn – Blow Yourself Up
23 The Scruffs – My Mind
24 Alex Chilton – Don’t Worry Baby

new Bottomless Pit

Bottomless Pit have a new 12" entitled Congress coming out in summer, and half of it ("Red Pen" and "Angry Swan") went up on their myspace a few weeks ago. No surprise, the new songs sound excellent, like an extension of Hammer Of The Gods. Definitely looking forward to the EP..

DFA crew live at the MoMA

New York's Museum Of Modern Art was kind enough to toss up recordings of the DFA crew and affiliates spinning at the March 1 party for the Color Chart exhibition. Grab them here (direct links - right click, save as):

Justin Miller & Jacques Renault
Holy Ghost
Tim Goldsworthy & Tim Sweeney
Juan Maclean

Or at the MoMA site here


1. 80 minutes worth of Tony Humphries live on KISS FM, summer of 1989, via Good Records' ongoing "Hoody Allen Files" mix series.

2. Jeff "I like pizza (a lot), pigs are very cute but I love ham and bacon" Nelson waxes nostalgic on his "Meese Is A Pig" poster/shaming campaign of the late 80s.. on Ebay no less. Own a piece of Iran/Contra and DC punk history with one $10 item.

3. A handful of joints to honor the Angello/Ingrosso portion of the Swedish House Mafia hitting Celebrities tonight..

Steve Angello & Eric Prydz "Woz Not Woz"

Felix Da Housecat "Jack U" (Angello & Ingrosso remix)

Steve Angello "Voices" (Eric Prydz remix)

Steve Angello / Laidback Luke "Be" (Nacho Lovers Edit)

R.I.P. Klaus Dinger

From Grönland:

We are very sad to report the death of Klaus Dinger, who died suddenly of heart failure four days before his 62nd birthday on March 20th 2008.

Dinger formed Neu! with Micheal Rother in 1971, releasing three seminal albums: Neu!, Neu 2! and Neu 75!

His landmark drumming style on these records, a propulsive almost surf-like repetitious groove defined the term 'motorik' and has had a profound influence on a huge range of artists such as Primal Scream, Stereolab, Wilco, David Bowie, The Boredoms and Four Tet.

He later formed La Dusseldorf, selling over a million copies in the 70s and 80s.

The burial took place amongst a private circle of family and friends. He will be greatly missed.

NEU! and La Düsseldorf are two of my favorite German bands and a lot of that has to do with Dinger's so-called Motorik beat. The "Apache Beat", as Dinger referred to it, is an instantly identifiable 4/4 rhythm that epitomized the mechanical / futuristic vibe at the heart of Krautrock. Endlessly propulsive, it drove most of their songs and was adopted by many other German bands, as well as American and European bands of the 90s and 00s.

It's worth noting that Dinger was also an early member of Kraftwerk along with his future NEU! partner Michael Rother. Both appeared on the first self-titled Kraftwerk album.

NEU! "Hallogallo" (from NEU!, 1972)

NEU! "After Eight" (from NEU! 75, 1975)

NEU! "Quick Wave Machineue" (from NEU! 4, 1986)

La Düsseldorf "Time" (from La Düsseldorf, 1976)

La Düsseldorf "Geld" (from Viva, 1978)


Red House Painters, live 1997

Ten years ago someone sent me a radio broadcast of Red House Painters playing at Hultsfred Festival in Sweden the previous summer. At the time most of the set was new material, and it was another three years before studio versions of those songs surfaced on the Old Ramon album. In that time I got used to the live versions, and Old Ramon was a big disappointment when it was finally released in 2001. RHP were always a fairly mellow and somber band, but much of Old Ramon was downright lethargic, lacking momentum and direction when compared to the live set. "Michigan" in particular was completely reworked, retaining only the lyrics. The update tried to sound cheery but instead ended up lifeless (somewhere there exists a 23-minute studio version that must be either the pinnacle or nadir for the song). Excellent demo recordings of other songs follow suit, highlighting the disappointing nature of the album.

Since then I've come to appreciate Old Ramon a lot more for what it is, but after revisiting the Hultsfred set recently I was reminded of how those are still the definitive versions of the songs for me.

Red House Painters, live at Hultsfred Festival, Sweden (June 1997)

Random Jams

Three random joints that never fail to get me amped..

Somehow when I dove headfirst into house music a while back I didn't manage to do the same with techno. Despite the fact that defining a track as one instead of the other is often a matter of splitting hairs (nevermind geography more than musical difference), techno usually seems too esoteric for me, and sails right over my head. Maybe it was all the trips to Chicago that did it, I don't know. Anyway, one of a handful of Detroit tracks I do keep coming back to is Carl Craig's "Oscillator", 7+ minutes of tech bliss.

Paperclip People "Oscillator" (1991)

I've got so much love for Kelis (one day I will post some tracks from her first two excellent albums, back when she worked with the Neptunes exclusively) and this song in particular. After the hysteria surrounding "Milkshake", which I thought was the Neptunes' weak and late stab at that ubiquitous riddim whose name I can't even remember right now, I was certain this song was going to be massive. Ultimately I don't even know if it was an official single in North America (the UK and Australia got a video and 12", neither of which made it over here, though I did find dozens of $0.79 jukebox-style 45s for it at a Virgin Megastore once) but needless to say, "Trick Me" was not a hit. Would it have been one if it was pushed as a proper single? I'd like to think so, but who knows. I still think it's a gem though. Here's the Heatwave remix with TOK and Beenie Man..

Kelis "Trick Me Twice" (Heatwave remix feat. Beenie Man & TOK, 2004)

Still on the dancehall tip.. when it comes to bizarre lyrics, this song is up there. From what I gather, they're running down a list of illnesses and diseases God will inflict upon, for example, females who choose to commit such abominations as.. wearing pants instead of dresses? Sure. Can't argue with the song as a whole though - strictly bangin.

Papa Michigan & General Smiley "Diseases" (1981)